The Attorney General’s Office has appointed Dr Mohamed Munavvar, a former Attorney General with expertise in maritime law, to contribute to the ongoing review of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea’s (ITLOS) decision, which led to the redrawing of the Maldives’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The move comes as part of a comprehensive assessment of the prior government’s approach to the maritime boundary dispute with Mauritius.

Dr Munavvar’s extensive knowledge in maritime law positions him as a valuable asset in the examination of the ITLOS ruling’s implications for the Maldives. His previous work in securing the Maldives’ claim to the continental shelf during President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration underscores his qualifications for this task.

Joining Dr Munavvar in this review process are a British King’s Counsel and a Maltese professor specialising in the Law of the Sea. They have been appointed to provide legal advice on the matter, with a deadline set for February to present their reports to the Attorney General’s Office.

As part of a commitment to transparency, the Attorney General’s Office intends to share the review’s findings with the public. Additionally, the report will be submitted to the Cabinet and Parliament for further deliberation, aligning with the President’s ‘Week 14’ roadmap for his presidency.

The Attorney General’s Office also plans to disclose information regarding the appointed legal experts and the expenditures associated with this high-profile case, aiming to enhance transparency surrounding the matter.

The President’s Office earlier established a committee tasked with reviewing the prior government’s approach to the legal dispute between the Maldives and Mauritius concerning their respective maritime boundary claims. The committee, led by former Attorney General Mohamed Anil, comprises representatives from the Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Maldives National Defence Force.

Their primary objective is to scrutinise the former government’s legal stance during the ITLOS proceedings and evaluate whether it effectively safeguarded the Maldives’ sovereignty in relation to Mauritian interests. The ITLOS ruling, while granting the Maldives a larger share of disputed waters, resulted in the loss of approximately 45,331 square meters from the Maldives’ EEZ.

The dispute’s significance was underscored during President Mohamed Muizzu’s campaign, where he contended that the Maldives had “lost” a substantial portion of its maritime territory to Mauritius following the ITLOS ruling.